The many rule sets of BJJ

The many rule sets of BJJ

One of the biggest problems of the jiu-jitsu tournament scene is the many rule sets of BJJ. When I started BJJ over 20 years ago, there was only a handful of tournaments in the US. There was the big ones, the World Championships (Mundial) and the Pan Ams. Grapplers Quest and Naga had tournaments on both coasts for the every day grapplers and BJJ practitioner. There was the Joe Moreira Challenge out west. The East Coast had the NYC Grappling Challenge with the USGA later to follow. The rules back then, with the exception of NAGA, were similar. The goal back then was to find 1 uniformed set of rules for everyone to follow.


The World Championship of BJJ have been around forever and under different names. The started gaining worldwide recognition around 1993 and then formally began being called the World Championships (Mundial) in 1996. Around 2002, Carlos Gracie formed the IBJJF ( the intention of getting everyone on the same page for tournaments and getting everyone under 1 rule set. The IBJJF has failed jiu-jitsu in my opinion in accomplishing this for many reasons. Greed, lack of respect for no-gi competitors, basically shutting out the East Coast by having every major event in California where competitors from Brazil and the East Coast can’t compete without gaining a sponsor to put up thousands of dollars are just some of the reasons. But money is at the top of the list


Today we seem to be heading backwards towards this goal with more and more events, each with their own rule set and flaws. Our biggest competitions are still IBJJF events, Abu Dhabi Combat Championship (ADCC), the newly formed Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI), Fight To Win, as well as NAGA still being around and the many local tournaments everywhere, where on the East Coast they seem to be almost every weekend.

Rule Sets

Each has different rule sets, some very, very different. There are point tournaments with time limits being the most active. Then, there are submission only events with very different sets of rules, some no pints, no time limit (true sub only), EBI is sub only w a time limit w OT started in certain positions, FTW is sub only with only submission or near submission attempts being the way to win, and ADCC with its own set with no points for a certain time-frame, then pints for a time frame. I personally like them all.


The problem without having 1 uniformed set of rules is we will never find out who the “king of the hill” really is. Everyone now seems to only want to fight where they are best. Gi, no-gi, true sub only, EBI rules, FTW rules etc. There are too many options available. I truly believe there are guys who would beat the same opponent 10 out of 10 times under 1 rule set and lose to that same opponent under a different rule set 10 out of 10 times. We seem to be getting further and further away from one set of rules to unify us all. But I still hope that 1 day that is the case.

Savarese BJJ’s Leo Alves dominates at Fight To Win 30

Savarese BJJ’s Leo Alves dominates at Fight To Win 30

Savarese BJJ’s Leo Alves dominated at Fight To Win 30. The North Arlington High School student stepped up onto the big stage of competition in Bayville NJ, last weekend. Alves won his match in just 53 seconds. Most noteworthy, it was the 17 yr old bluebelt’s first taste of “superfight status” matches.

Top competitor

Alves is one of the top competitors on the Savarese Jiu-Jitsu Competition Team, one of the top competition teams in NJ. “Cabra”, as he is known in the Academy, has won many titles over the past 2 years, his biggest being the No-Gi Pan Am Champion. He has also won titles in IBJJF tournaments, The NJBJJF, NAGA, Grapplers Quest, Good Fight, Big Apple Open, Pride BJJ among others. Many of the titles came in men’s divisions despite him being 15-17 yrs old when they were won.

Words from his Professor

His instructor, 2nd degree blackbelt Professor Chris Savarese, thinks the world of Leo. “Cabra is an awesome and grounded kid. Humility is important here and Leo has it in spades and he is a hard working kid who understands at an early age what is right and wrong and expects nothing from anyone, he is not an entitled kid. His future is as bright as he wants it. There is an extremely solid group of teens who push each other, compete together and are successful in a large part because of each other. Tremendous kids.”

Leo says thanks

Leo thanked his teammates. ” Yesterday was special to me. I made my first professional debut in jiu jitsu at the F2W Pro 30, and had a great experience. I was able to get the omoplata in a little over a minute. Thank you so much to my coaches Professor Savarese and Sean Bermudez and everyone who trained with me for the last month leading up to the fight. Also congrats to my two teammates Brian and Anthony, I was so moved by the way you guys fought. Also a big shout out to everyone who came to support. There is nothing like being able to represent our school in front of so many people. Having you guys there cheer me and the guys on was a great experience. Finally, thank you to Seth Daniels for the great opportunity, I look forward to doing future events with you guys.

Whats next?

Alves will be competing in the IBJJF World Championship in June at the Pyramid at University Cal Long Beach. Best of luck Leo!

Leo omoplata

Savarese BJJ's Leo Alves dominates at Fight To Win 30

Savarese BJJ’s Leo Alves dominates at Fight To Win 30

Savarese BJJ's Leo Alves dominates at Fight To Win 30

Savarese BJJ’s Leo Alves dominates at Fight To Win 30

Leo walkout

Lyndhurst Martial Arts Competition team shines again

Lyndhurst Martial Arts Competition team shines again

Congrats to our Savarese BJJ competition members who competed in NAGA today and crushed it. It was the second time in 2 weeks that the Lyndhurst Martial Arts competition team shined. Last week, they shined at the NY Open at CCNY.

One of our best

Sean Yadimarco is known as The Beast in the Academy. One of our top competitors, Sean has been winning mens division since he was 16 yrs old. This weekend, he took home Gold in his men’s bluebelt division, winning 4 matches in the process. Yadimarco is gearing up for the World BJJ Championships in CA in June at Walter Pyramid – CSU Long Beach.

Killer Kayla

Our 14 yr old killer, Kayla Zeppetelli, took gold in her teens no-gi division, then stepped up and won the women’s white belt division, beating a 25 yr old women in the process. She then stepped up and took bronze in the women’s BLUEBELT division, competing amongst women.
Congrats also to Ivette Ponte, who took Gold in her Whitebelt division and silver in the absolute, stepped up and fought in the bluebelt masters division and took gold there as well. Awesome day Ivette.
Finally, congrats to Ariana Zeppetelli and Maria “Foofie” Villa for both earning silver medals today. Great job everyone, proud of you all!

BJJ Competitions : put yourself in position to succeed

BJJ Competitions : put yourself in position to succeed

I am have been going to BJJ Competitions since 1995. My first one, the NYC Grappling Challenge, got me hooked on competition. I went on to compete in many tournaments over the next 10 year and have been viewing and coaching my students and friends students at many others. There seems to be a common mistake that many make that I wanted to get into in today’s blog….you must put yourself in position to succeed.

What does that mean?

First and for foremost, if you are going to compete and want to be successful, you have to go to class and train for the competition! This should go without saying but you’d be surprised at how many people will train 2-3 in the month preceding their competition and expect to win. Furthermore, they get upset when they lose. It is hard for your training partners to get behind you if you aren’t showing respect for the competition, your team and yourself. In addition, you are spitting on the success of your Academy’s competition team if it is a successful one. We use a saying at my Academy “Don’t be upset of the results you didn’t get from work you didn’t put in.”

Practice makes perfect

We ask all of our competitors to decided they are competing 4-5 weeks before the competition. This ensures that they have enough time to put in the proper training. Whatever you are going to do in competition, you must first do it training. It must be drilled over and over in different scenarios. You will compete like you practice. Therefore, if you train lazy, you will compete lazy. If you want to perform technically and tactically well in competitions, you better get that technique and those tactics down in training first. The same holds true for every other aspect of your training camp, even the mental preparation. I have never seen a person enter a tournament last minute and win. Be prepared

Other tips:

As we get closer to the tournament, one of your biggest goals is to be as prepared as you can be to perform your best. Put everything in place to get prepared. These will include:

  • Good night’s sleep
  • Nutritious pre-competitive meal
  • Knowing all the rules
  • Review technique, tactics, and game plan
  • Warming up properly and breaking a sweat
  • Having nutritious foods in case tournament run late

Savarese BJJ Etiquette Guidelines

There are a lot of new members in the school so I wanted to re-post our Etiquette Guidelines.

Academy Etiquette Guidelines

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academies tend to teach in a more relaxed and less rigid atmosphere than traditional martial arts. Nonetheless, in order to maintain a positive environment that is both conductive to learning and welcoming to potential students, we require our students, parents of students in the kid’s classes, and staff to adhere to the following Academy Etiquette Guidelines:

1) Always show respect to your instructors, training partners, and fellow human beings. Respect in training means: do not seek to harm fellow students physically (i.e. by cranking a submission harder than necessary to make them tap) or emotionally (i.e. by calling them names or making jokes about hurting them). Respect also means that you must train seriously and hard enough for you and your partner to improve his or her skills, conditioning, and fighting spirit. Not giving your best during training detracts from both you and your partner’s experience. Respect is earned not given. If you come in acting like a fool you will be treated as such. No matter what belt you are.

2) Maintain good hygiene (i.e. shower and brush your teeth regularly). As you can imagine, it’s difficult to concentrate on technique when you find your partner’s smells distracting! Bring a clean, dry Gi to each class. Wash your Gi’s and rash guards after every class!! No exceptions! You will not be permitted to train if your Gi’s and rash guards are not clean. Clean and cover all wounds, scrapes, etc. This is how we prevent MRSA and ringworm. Also, you will not be permitted to participate in class if you have any contagious skin conditions.

3) Keep your finger and toe nails short and clean to prevent injury to yourself and others.

4) It is disrespectful to be late to class. If you have an understanding with your instructor because of you schedule to be late, do not distract him or the other students while he is showing a move. Quietly stand by the entrance until your instructor is done, then proceed to the locker room.

5) Barefoot on the mat only! Keep shoes off the mat so that we can keep the mat clean and sanitary. Do not step off the mat with bare feet. You must wear flip-flops, sandals, sneakers, etc. while not on the mat and when entering and leaving the restroom.

6) Do not walk outside with bare feet. If you have to go outside, wear sandals or shoes. Items (5) and (6) are especially important to prevent the spread of skin conditions such as ringworm.

7) Do not shout loudly or use profanity in the Academy. Treat your Academies as if they are sacred. This should go without saying.

8) Do not talk while the instructor is talking. It distracts those who are trying to learn and is disrespectful to the instructor and other students.

9) It is disrespectful not to wear your belt in class. Your rank was given to you by your instructor. Wear it with pride. If your belt falls off, tie it back on.

10) Please wear your Gi, a t-shirt, or a tank top while in the public areas of the Academy. No bare backs! Please change in the locker room and leave your belongings in the locker area. Try to keep the mat area clean for possible new students who may want to join our Academy.

11) Do not leave the mat during class without the instructor’s permission.

12) No cell phones in the training (unless you have a pregnant wife) They will distract those who are trying to learn. This goes for parents watching the class as well.

13) If the instructor has not changed the task, then continue doing the task he or she has given (i.e. don’t sit around talking because you feel you have done a technique enough times). You can NEVER do a technique too many times!!

14) “Respect Rank!!” It is disrespectful to ask an instructor or a higher rank to train with you, so wait until they ask you to roll. If you want to ask a higher rank to train, do it in a humble, respectful manner like “can I have the honor to train with you?” or “do you feel like throwing me around a little bit?” Sav and Sean are to be addressed as “Professor” at all times in the Academy. It is his rank and he should be addressed as such. Please do not refer to the teacher as bro, dude, brother,. All lower belts should speak and act respectfully to anyone ranked higher than them. Also if you are sparring next to someone who has a higher belt rank than you or your partner, then you and your partner must move and yield the space to the higher belt rank (meaning if you bump into each other during training, lower belt moves). The Academy is not a locker room, fun is to be had, but respect must be maintained for higher ranks.

15) Always bow, bump fists or shake hands before live training or sparring.

16) When classes are crowded, students will sometimes bump into each other when sparring. Take special care to be aware of your surroundings and stop sparring if you are too close to other students. Finishing an armbar is not worth it if your opponent is going to land on your other teammates head. You wouldn’t want someone to land on your head just because they were set on “getting the tap” from someone else.

17) In addition, much of what we practice routinely with each other will seriously injure others. It should not be practiced outside of the Academy.

18) White Gi’s only!

19) Keep your excuses at home. Excuse making is cancerous and not welcome on our mats or in our school.

20) No racist or sexist comments or actions or disrespect towards an instructor WILL EVER BE TOLERATED. You will be expelled from the Academy.

Kids Martial Arts Program Awards Student of the Month

Kids Martial Arts Program Awards Student of the Month

Savarese Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy’s kids martial arts program, awards student of the month to Gavin DeRobertis. Gavin is a tremendous baseball player and enthusiastic wrestler outside of the academy as well. Over the last month he has rededicated himself to improving in jiu-jitsu and has progressed by leaps and bounds. Through his dedication he has quickly become one of the better kids in the room. He sets a great example for  his younger brother Carter as well as his cousins Bradley and William as well. Gavin will be moving up to our Teens program soon and we are excited to see what his future has in store for him. Please join us in congratulation Gavin on this great accomplishment.

What does it take to earn Student of the Month?

There are many factors that go into selecting the Student of the Month. The Kids Instructors look to see which child is giving their best efforts, attendance record, and probably the most important thing is progress. The youth student who progresses most based on their ability from the start of the month to the end of the month, usually tends to receive the award. Gavin made a huge amount of progress this month, therefore he earned the award.

About Savarese BJJ Kid’s Program

Our program can and will help your child increase their confidence, self-esteem, discipline, while teaching them life skills that will last them a lifetime.

Our award winning program, your child will be able to progress at their very own pace. We understand that everyone learns differently.

Call us today at 201 933-5134 and see your child improve, just like Gavin.


Lyndhurst Martial artists will test their skills

Lyndhurst Martial artists will test their skills

Six Lyndhurst Martial Artists will test their jiu-jitsu skills at the Fight To Win Tournament April 8th in Bayville, NJ. The students, from the Savarese Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, have all been successful members of the Academy’s competition team. Brian Procel, Sean Yadimarco, Leo Alves, Anthony DelGuercio, and Ariana and Kayla Zeppetelli will all be doing “super fights” at the event. Super fights are one on one challenge matches.

Former UFC fighters are fight card

Former UFC fighters Kurt Pellegrino and Tom DeBlass are also slated to be on the card. This event will be one of the top events in NJ in the last couple of years.

Fight To Win

Fight To Win Promotions hosts Professional Jiu Jitsu and Open BJJ and NOGI tournaments across the country.  Futhermore, the nationwide company has featured some of the best grapplers from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Sombo and Submission Wrestling. The event, based out of Denver, Co travels across the coutry hosting events looking to find the best talent in the country. It is slowly becoming the best event for these type of events in the USA.

How do I buy tickets?

Because of the high demand, tickets to the event can be purchased at the Fight To Win website. Also, by following this link . Since over 50 schools will be represented at this event, tickets will go fast. Hence, this event will be a sellout because it is FTW’s first event in NJ.


Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy Pride Tournament results

Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy Pride Tournament results

Savarese BJJ Academy, a Lyndhurst Martial arts Academy’s Pride Tournament results were outstanding. Professor Chris Savarese’s team had a great showing at the Pride Tournament in NYC yesterday. Pride is a really tough and well run tournament.

Congrats to “The Beast” Sean Yadimarco on winning his bluebelt division, continuing a fantastic run over the last 2 years. He has been men’s divisions at only 16 and 17 yrs old since last year. Furthermore, Babatunde Ojo had his best day of competing yet, finishing 2nd in his bluebelt division and 3rd in the Absolute division (no weight limit). Those results came on the heels of having a bad day at his last tournament. Savarese told him his day was coming because Ojo has been awesome in the training room for the past couple of months. Congrats to Ojo for staying mentally strong and learning from defeat like we are supposed to. The entire Academy is so proud of you. Also on the top of the podium was our little man Damien Moreria, winning his yellowbelt division. Love this kid, Damien is the smallest kid in the training room every night and never complains, he just trains. We knew he would be a special kid years ago when he would come to class early before everyone and do agility drills with the cones before class.

Congrats to Brian Procel and Corey Peirone for stepping up and testing themselves as well. Sorry to Ariana and Kayla Zeppetelli for having no one in your divisions but we’ll jump right in to another soon.

Kids shine too!

Also congrats to both Tiankees, Leo and Lorenzo, for taking 1st place in their kids divisions. They were the only 2 kids to step up on the kids team for this tournament. 

Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy Pride Tournament results

Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy Pride Tournament results

Your first year of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Your first year of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Your first year of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is always the toughest. I liken it to a totem pole. You are at the bottom in the beginning and the longer you stay, more people join after you and you start to move up. If you can make it through that first year, odds are the you will train BJJ for the rest of your life. Futhermore, you will become a better and more patient person through your training.

What to expect

Frustration! Bruising! Soreness! You will think you will never learn or remember all these techniques. Therefore, the frustration sets in. In addition, you are scred of all these people more experienced than you. But, you must tell yourself “All of these people here have been where I am now at some point. If They can do it, so can I.” That is one of the first lessons that really needs to sink in. The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” can apply here. Pateince is one of the first lessons to be taught in BJJ. You must build a foundation, learn all the fundamental movements and submissions in order to progress. Most of all, it is super important to just enjoy yourself and have fun!

Remember the benefits!

You will experience many benefits from training jiu-jitsu. Besides the obvious, learning how to defend yourself, you will become leaner, stronger, learn how to focus better among other benefits. Consequently, you will learn how to eat healthier, live and sleep better and gain like minded friends for life. Some of my best friends are my training partners and you will meet friends from all around the world through BJJ.

Another lesson

One of my favorite sayings that applies to BJJ and life is “Win or Learn”. Learning how to grow from losses, in competition or in training, humbles you and teaches you how to grow from it. Losing is one of the most difficult moments a BJJ practitioner will ever have to go through but losing is the fastest way to success. Once this is learned, the sky is the limit for your growth on and off the mats.


Great things happening at Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy

Great things happening at Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy

Great things happening at the Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy Savarese Jiu-Jitsu. February is usually a quiet month but a lot of things are going down.

Competition Team excels again!

Great job to all the Savarese BJJ and Training 4 Life guys who stepped up and competed this weekend. Very small team yesterday but congrats to Corey Peirone for winning his first BJJ tournament yesterday!! I am so happy and proud of your persistence, perseverance and no quit attitude. Enjoy that medal, a lot of blood, sweat and lumps went into it!. Congrats to Brian Procel who continue to grow in his brownbelt, beating an opponent who weighed over 60lbs more than him by over 10 points and then going nose to nose w a top competitor in the area. Congrats to Baba Ojo for stepping up again, your time is coming brother, just look to Corey’s example and he will tell you it’s all worth it. And also to T4L Ralph Jaquez who did had a great showing but took away a much more important victory by defeating smoking. Great job everyone!! You make me proud not just by winning but by not being afraid to fail.

Congrats Sean “The Beast” Yadimarco 

Also I wanted to congratulate Sean Yadimarco on an awesome wrestling season finishing w/ a record of 28-5 and 84 career wins. That is a great season and you should be very proud of what you accomplished wrestling at Clifton but I must admit that I am super excited to have you full time at BJJ and see how far you will climb!

Goodbye Steve!

And sadly, we say goodbye for now to one of our most consistent students, Steve McNicholas, who will be moving to England for a year for work but we know he will be in awesome hands w/ SBG and John Kavanagh.

Great things happening at Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy

Great things happening at Lyndhurst Martial Arts Academy